Homecoming gets BYU back on track

September 22, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 3:43 pm   Category: Sports

BYU football righted the ship this afternoon, manhandling the Air Force Falcons 31-6.

It was by no means a perfect game for BYU — the Cougs still turned the ball over twice and had too many penalties — but it was more than enough to get the job done. The defense decided to show up today and did their best to convince BYU fans that the Tulsa debacle was an anomaly. Max Hall and the offense continued to impress and tight end Dennis Pitta, freshman running back Harvey Unga, and juniors Manase Tonga and Michael Reed all had big games. (If I were an opposing MWC defensive coordinator I would not be looking forward to trying to stop BYU for the next few years with that kind of young talent on offense.)

This was a good win for BYU. It puts the Cougs atop the conference standings and knocks out a 3-0 team. With the other top MWC contenders (TCU and Utah) coming to Provo this year the Cougs seem to have the inside track at winning the conference at this point. If BYU can continue to dominate at home all they need to do is avoid an upset in places like Albuquerque next week. Now that BYU has proven they remember how to win we’ll see if this team knows how to win away from home next Saturday.

BTW — Anybody actually see the game? I listened online to the KSL radio broadcast. The fine folks at Comcast and The Mtn. decided to not even sell an internet streaming video of this game… lovely.

Anyway, sound off on the game or team Coug fans.


  1. Geoff, I was present at the game. It was a good crowd. The refs are still blind to obvious holding calls by opponents (and I’m understating the blatant obviousness of the calls not made). The cougs were simply physically dominating. We also got to see how important Max Hall is to this team.

    Comment by Blake — September 22, 2007 @ 7:19 pm

  2. I should add that I went to a Cougar Club luncheon with Coach Mendenhall. He stated that they had sent to the league officiating review five plays on which BYU was flagged in the Tulsa game. The result? The officiating review stated it was “very clear” that there was no penalty. Phantom calls all. What made me chuckle was that in the Deseret News this week in an article about the plethora of BYU penalties there was a picture of a Tulsa player holding onto the face mask of I believe Unga and what should have been a 15 yarder at a crucial point in the game. Of course it was a no call.

    Comment by Blake — September 22, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

  3. Could someone please tell me how the PAC gets away with insisting on their own referees at away games? Shouldn’t the NCAA make some sort of rule about that?

    Comment by Mark D. — September 22, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

  4. BYU will probably win the conference but I think this says more about the weakness of the conference this year than the strength of BYU.

    A lot of people made comments that there were only 8 penalties. However (bad calls last week notwithstanding) that’s really not good at all. 8 calls in a game you dominated probably would have been well over 10 in a game you were struggling in.

    And turnovers remain a problem.

    I halfway wonder if the lack of love for BYU by refs has something to do with BYU’s reputation.

    Comment by clark — September 22, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

  5. Clark: What reputation?

    Comment by Blake — September 22, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  6. New Mexico will be a tougher game than usual this year I think. They beat Arizona in Tucson last week and thumped some poor little team 58-0 today. BYU will have to prove it can bring its A game to road games as well or this could be another upset.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 22, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

  7. On a side note — what’s the deal with Utah this year? They crush UCLA one week then get pounded by UNLV the next week? I don’t get it.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 23, 2007 @ 10:57 am

  8. Classic letdown game. Working in freshman and sophomores in their first road start against an improving UNLV team (who you guys will kill) after the biggest home upset in over a decade will do that.

    I have seen many a crappy game and that was one of the worst football games I’ve ever seen in preparation, coaching, execution, basically everything.

    From putting Johnson in the game to start the 2nd half, keeping him in when it’s obvious he’s still not close to 100% to going for a desperate fake punt in the first half when you’re only down by 3, that Utah performance was disgusting. Not to mention forgoing not one but two chip-shot field goals in the 3rd when the score is only 13-0.

    At least we only lost one player to injury, Robert Johnson separated his shoulder in the 1st quarter and will be out 3-6 weeks.


    Comment by Jon in Austin — September 23, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  9. Blake, through the 80’s and 90’s BYU had a reputation for one of the most disliked teams in America. Sports Illustrated even did a story on this. The Crowton days may have changed that. I don’t know.

    Geoff – Utah owning UCLA while getting clobbered by everyone else makes me think UCLA just isn’t a good team. Making our loss that much more hurtful. The clobbering Tulsa took makes me think things really aren’t great. As I said though we’ll probably win the conference. Air Force appeared either woefully unprepared (much like our Tulsa game) or else Utah and TCU really, really suck. (Which is more likely in my opinion)

    UNLV is improving but they still royally suck. I can’t believe Utah didn’t win. Frankly a lot of the decisions were poor coaching.

    The hardest games, the rest of the season, will be Wyoming and Utah.

    Of course, as folks recall from our first post here this season, I was expecting this to be a building season. I didn’t expect anything like the whupping at Tulsa. And I certainly didn’t expect the lack of discipline in that game both due to people not playing their positions but also the penalties. Really penalties is the biggest issue: especially in the O-Line. The other big issue is the interceptions. And that might be harder to work out during the season. We’ll see. It’s all about Hall overcoming instinct.

    Comment by clark — September 23, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

  10. Clark,

    I am always surprised at your consistently high level of pessimism about the team. The sky isn’t falling on BYU football my man…

    My guess is that Tulsa, UCLA, and BYU will all win 8-10 games this year. If UCLA wins a couple more games in a row they will be back in the top 25. BYU would be there again if they can rattle off 4-6 more straight wins as well based on the pattern from last year.

    I think you are selling the MWC and UNLV short as well. Remember, this is the same UNLV team that lost in the last minute to #5 Wisconsin earlier this year. I think Jon in Austin is right about Utah having a letdown although I also think there is something to the complaint about the coaching up in Salt Lake City too.

    As for this being a building year — I would buy that if the offense wasn’t very good. But the offense is proving to be surprisingly good (despite the turnovers and penalties) and the team has a veteran defense this year so they certainly aren’t rebuilding on that side of the ball. I suspect that if the team can stay obsessive about “execution” like they were last year that the 2007 team will prove to be as good as the 2006 team was.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 23, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

  11. Go Cougs!

    I’ve finally managed to get the Mountain. Its great. Nyah nyah.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — September 24, 2007 @ 6:49 am

  12. New Mexico will be a tougher game than usual this year I think. They beat Arizona in Tucson last week and thumped some poor little team 58-0 today. BYU will have to prove it can bring its A game to road games as well or this could be another upset.

    I am hardly a football follower, but I thought I would stir the pot just a little.
    My son and I attended the UNM vs. Sacramento State game where UNM won 58-0. It was fun, but we choose to go mostly because we got a free tee-shirt and very cheap tickets.

    That being said, my brother-in-law has asked me to represent UNM on this board if they beat BYU. So, I will offer a couple of words if this comes to be. And I will post to be a whipping boy if BYU wins.

    The BYU vs. UNM game is always interesting as a NM LDS. My brother-in-law’s brother-in-law is (or at least was) the head of the BYU alumni association so I enjoy hearing about or observing their conflicts. Other members here have great passion about the game too. Some of them are for BYU, others for UNM (and some just against one or the other). Part of me wishes I could get that excited.

    Charity, TOm

    Comment by TOm — September 24, 2007 @ 9:47 am

  13. It’s hard to get excited about yet another Las Vegas Bowl. And that’s the best case scenario.

    Comment by California Condor — September 25, 2007 @ 8:44 am

  14. How is thinking they’ll win the conference pessimistic? I think they *may* lose one more game. Probably, if anything, Wyoming. Although Utah, despite sucking, may put it together for the BYU game much like they did the UCLA game.

    Like CC said, it’s hard to get excited about an other Las Vegas Bowl.

    Anyway, it’s hard to accuse me of pessimism when it seems to me the seasons gone about as I expected. I think folks just had very unrealistic expectations for a team with a very, very green quarterback. If anything I’m overall pretty pleased outside of the Tulsa game. (I don’t mind losing if we’re at least playing with heart – and the defense wasn’t, although Hall impressed the heck out of me in that game)

    My big remaining worry is discipline, especially in the O-Line. It seems like the defense calmed down quite a bit last week for the AF game. Fewer penalties. But the O-Line was, if anything, almost less disciplined. Admittedly as Blake noted, some of those calls in the Tulsa game were undeserved. But many were deserved and there were deserved calls that never got called.

    Comment by Clark — September 25, 2007 @ 9:34 am

  15. BTW – while I only watched part of a few Utah games this year, it really seems like the problem there is coaching. I think this is really Crowton like experiences up there. Although I also think this shows how great a coach Irvin Meyers was.

    UNLV nearly upset Wisconsin, it’s true. I didn’t see the game so I can’t speak to the quality of play by Wisconsin. It’s been one of those years for major upsets though. As I said though, they just aren’t that great a team. I hope they become such because I think our conference needs it. Heck, UNLV just needs sports to become good again. They’ve lost it since those big violations in basketball back in the early 90’s.

    The point being though, that no one in our conference has really had a big game beyond Utah and UCLA. And that’s the only game Utah’s won. Wyoming had one good game and had they beat Boise I think it would have been great. But the conference just doesn’t have much to point to this year, unlike prior years.

    Comment by Clark — September 25, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  16. The review team in the New Mexico game is crooked, dishonest and obviously paid off. College football cannot withstand this kind of blatant and obvious dishonesty. Overturning an obvious catch is so far beyond what is acceptable that fans must demand a change. This is beyond ridiculous. It is beneath contempt. The review team must be investigated and fired. I won’t stand for it!

    Comment by Blake — September 29, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  17. Totally Blake. The radio guys were beside themselves on that crooked call.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 29, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  18. And taking 7 minutes to make it. Greg Wrudell quoted a guideline saying they should spend no more than 2. Something definitely smells here.

    Comment by Eric Russell — September 29, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

  19. I promised to return as a whipping boy if UNM lost. They did. I had a friend at the game and he said that BYU scored a touchdown that was taken away (wrongly) by the reviewing of the call. So I guess that would make the score 35 – 21. He was rooting for UNM too, so while I do not think he was much more involved than me, he agrees with others here despite his UNM leanings.

    Anyway, we (UNM) lost. We (UNM) will get you next year (perhaps). Go UNM!
    Charity, TOm

    Comment by TOm — October 1, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

  20. Hehe. Nice work TOm. Blown calls hurt a lot less when we win. (Sorry about no new post for this game — I just didn’t feel like it this week).

    Comment by Geoff J — October 1, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  21. Here are some YouTube highlights of the BYU vs.UNM game for those of you who don’t get the games on TV. Some pretty nice plays. I loved that long bomb to Collie especially.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 5, 2007 @ 4:34 pm